Scott wrote the first part of out 2013 draft preview yesterday by identifying some high floor/low upside pitchers around the Rays' range of draft picks. Today, I'll look at some of the higher upside pitchers that the Rays could draft wit...
Scott wrote the first part of out 2013 draft preview yesterday by identifying some high floor/low upside pitchers around the Rays' range of draft picks. Today, I'll look at some of the higher upside pitchers that the Rays could draft with their first couple of picks.
"High upside" can be difficult to determine. How can you call a high school pitcher who is six years away from the majors a potential impact starter? How about a prep pitcher who throws around 90 mph range currently? The answer is that it is difficult, but there are several signs to look for. Generally speaking, a high upside prospect is one that displays (or has the potential to display) plus tools, or most often in a pitcher's scenario, plus stuff (pitches). The main component to look for is a fastball. Most of these guys either already have a good fastball, or they have the body type or quick arm that indicates that they could have a good fastball in the future. A feel for a breaking ball is also important, while the change up is of lesser importance. It is a held belief that a change up is a pitch that can be learned. As I already mentioned when discussing the fastball, body type helps determine a pitcher's potential. A tall pitcher with a loose arm excites scouts. A powerful build is more important for pitchers further along in the physical development curve. If the player can combine a projectable frame with the potential for plus stuff, then they are deemed "high upside" prospects. There is a lot of subjectivity involved, but in this post, I will use the opinions of online sources such as Baseball America, ESPN, minorleagueball.com, and Bullpen Banter.
Out of all the pitchers in the 2013 draft, only four should assuredly be gone by the time the Rays pick: Mark Appel (RHP, Stanford), Jonathan Gray (RHP, Oklahoma), Kohl Stewart (RHP, St. Pius X HS), and Braden Shipley (RHP, Nevada).
After that, I believe every pitcher has a chance of slipping to the Rays. The bonus of possessing two first round picks, as is the case with the Rays, is the ability to nab a player who has slipped in the draft. In the Rays case, they could select someone with the talent of a top 10-20 prospect in the draft, but who fell to pick #21 for a variety of reasons. Since the Rays have a bonus pool just exceeding six million dollars, they could allocate their resources to signing the high profile player while budgeting the rest of the bonus pool by signing less expensive players in the other slots. This could make someone such as Trey Ball affordable to the Rays.
Here are some of the high upside type pitchers (from both college and high school) that the Rays may take with their first few picks.
Trey Ball, Indiana H.S. (LHP, 6'6, 180 lbs.)
Best Attribute: A left handed pitcher with a fastball that sits in the mid to low 90's with plenty of projection is the makings of a tantalizing prospect.
Analysis: Prior to the season, there were serious questions about whether Ball would be drafted as a pitcher or as a positional player. However, improved stuff this spring accompanied by positive results have designated his future to be on the mound for now. Ball, in addition to his 90-95 mph heater, also has a feel for his breaking ball, although he only began throwing it with frequency this year. His change up also shows promise and is very advanced for a prep pitcher. There is still a slim chance a team could selects him as a positional player, but with his mix of strong pitches and excellent athleticism, his future appears brighter on the mound.
Stock: Ball's stock has risen throughout the spring as his velocity has increased and featured more consistency. It is highly unlikely that he is on the board when the Rays first pick, and there is a chance he is selected in the top five picks.
Sean Manaea, Indiana State (LHP, 6'5, 235 lbs.)
Best Attribute: Teams that draft Manaea will hope that he reverts back to his dazzling form in last year's Cape Cod League.
Analysis: Breaking out in the C